Friday, 25 March 2011

A-Z #59: The Deer Hunter

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#59 - The Deer Hunter

Why did I buy it?

I think the vast majority of us obsessive film fanatics have read Peter Biskinds insightful, but fairly gossipy, 'classic' Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. The book charts the seventies in Hollywood, and how from Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Riders, for a short period, the directors called the shots ... and ultimately, how Lucas's Star Wars and Spielberg' s Jaws flipped the shots back to the producers as they realised that, whilst some directors hit-big with artistic masterpieces, there was much more money with B-Movie-to-A-Movie adaptations, relentless marketing and selling lots and lots of toys was the bigger way to make money. Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter was one of those incredible directoral successes during this period - amongst Coppola's The Godfather and Scorseses' Mean Streets - but, rather than following it up with a stronger film, poor Cimino followed it up with Heaven's Gate. One of the biggest 'flops'  in cinema history. It cost $44m ... and made a little under $4m (according to IMDB). 

Why do I still own it?

At any rate, I watched the film and it is indeed a tough watch. A long opening Wedding sequence with a film stretched over 3-hours. The film has an incredible cast in Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Cazale. The finale is quite the pay-off, but I also believe that it requires more than one watch. So, though I am not convinced, I am keeping it on the grounds that I need to watch it again. After all, it also won Best Picture and is highly regarding as one of the most important Vietnam films - alongside Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket. But unlike those films, this film primarily tackles how the war broke up communities and changed peoples lives forever - we focus upon the attempt at getting back into society and how, others, never managed to get back.

Don't get me wrong, I was not bowled over on my first - and only - viewing, but there is plenty there that will make me come back.

Maybe that initial instinct is accurate? Can anyone top Platoon, Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket?
Large Association of Movie Blogs

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